WORKS: Violin Concerto in D; Violin Concerto in G minor
PERFORMER: Raphael Oleg (violin), Royal Liverpool PO/Libor Pesek
CATALOGUE NO: CD 79944
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic has made enormous strides with Libor Pesek in recent years. At its best, this band provides a perfect blend of intelligence and passion, qualities which are well to the fore in its performance of Bruch’s celebrated G minor Violin Concerto on this recording.
Pesek and the orchestra accompany with the assurance of a chamber ensemble, matching and, from time to time catching, the volatility of Raphael Oleg’s solo playing. In the outer movements, the combination is electric, while the Adagio is moving without being sentimental.
Oleg’s tone is not the sweetest ever heard, and it may not appeal to all tastes. But he makes no false claims for the music and achieves a scale of emotion which is entirely appropriate for the work.
Much the same is true of the performance of the Brahms. Conductor, orchestra and soloist manage to reveal something new at nearly every turn, even if they linger a touch too lovingly over the first movement. No such worry clouds the slow movement – a real Adagio – nor the finale which is brimming over with infectious humour.
This appealing and highly recommendable issue is enhanced by excellent recorded balance and only marginally hindered by some alarmingly didactic sleeve notes. Jan Smaczny